If you’re positively bewildered by the madness you’re seeing here and would like some additional context, a link to previous parts in this series can be found at the end of the article.
So, did you enjoy Christmas and the New Year? I admit I spent most of it drinking merrily, and then perhaps a bit more. It was relatively recent that I remembered that, yes, there is indeed a Destiny Christmas event and I should get on that before it disappears. That said, I had no idea what I was getting myself into as I launched up Destiny to jump into the festivities.
Raring to go, I rushed to the Tower to see who I should prod to get my post-Christmas winter ceremony on. I even admit I instinctively turned to my left at first, thinking the same person behind the Halloween romp would be sending me on my celebratory adventure.
Yet, oddly, the bash was to begin in the garage. Through out this entire experience with Destiny, I don’t really recall having to go inside for any reason really. It was weird to stumble in to see a quest waiting for me. By the mechanic no less, who I only knew as the woman who got her snark on with RoboFillion once in a cut scene. So I began thinking “What could a mechanic and winter have in common?”Well, turns out not a whole lot, as she asks me to race my Sparrow for the winter.
That is when I hit my first hurdle: Finding where to initiate the races. I honestly had to go look it up, where upon which someone randomly decided to sit with me in a corridor.
In case you’re not familiar with Destiny, Sparrows are small sci-fi jet-powered motorbikes that you use to whiz about on planets. Usually they work to minimize the down-time travelling to the mission in an unsung role. However, in an interesting decision, they’ve emerged in a more central role as you race up to 5 others on tracks for 3 laps.
Although it is within this more focused role the oddities of the driving controls really become apparent. The traditional approach for wheeled kind is left trigger to brake, right trigger to accelerate, left and right to steer the wheels and the vehicle follows the wheels. It seems the future has no room for this kind of traditionalist driving philosophy though. Here, it’s left stick to strafe where you want, left trigger to boost in the forward-facing direction, and right trigger to brake. You’ll just want to hope your vehicle follows where you want to go as it does have the handling of a motorized shopping trolley.
Yet despite my complaints, it is possible to get used to these. In fact, I don’t mean to boast but I did win a good few times. In fact, I managed to complete the entire license quest chain surrounding racing (which includes getting top-3 10 times and then first place 3 times). Something that gave me a randomized loot box for my troubles. I also ended up completing all the in-book achievements, which gave me additional little prizes here and there.
I think what really made me dig the racing was how the checkpoint system worked. Across the track lay small avoidable checkpoints. If you pass through them, you get a burst of speed. If you miss, you’ll have your top speed reduced which can only be rectified by running through a checkpoint.
The checkpoints are those blue/white transparent things ahead. While it is easy to notice on this map, it is significantly harder on the snowy map. Especially as you’re going 180 kph, crashing through Fallen and trying not to be bumped off the map by the person behind you.
Just like this it’d be an interesting concept but one that would leave imperfect people unable to finish as their speed goes to a crawl. There is just one more rule to add: Your placement in the race affects the size of the checkpoints, as the higher place you are the smaller they get. I admit I love ideas like this. It is a small uncomplicated rule, but it is one that radically changes the dynamic of the race. Rather than quickly finding your comfort place within a lap, you have people climbing and dropping place constantly as they just scrape their Sparrow outside of the checkpoint, missing that vital boost. This makes the races tense, exciting and ooohhh, maybe a little bit saucy.
So despite usually not caring much about racing, I was invested enough to unlock as much as I could. I got a full racing armour set, a neon bike to speed around on while doing tricks and even some horns to cycle through when lazy. Normally I’d be anxious at spending 6+ hours on something that I’d predict would take less than 1k words to write about, but I was honestly having a lot of fun. Plus, it counted as XP so it let me level up my new skill tree.
Oh, that reminds me: I’m no longer one of those Gunslingers downing bosses with my Golden Gun. I had actually hit the maximum level at the end of the last part. So, before I leapt into racing, I switched into Bladedancer. No, it isn’t a bladed form of capoeira. Instead, the special involves charging into battle like a proud warrior with only a knife. I mean, I would prefer a real weapon like a sword but we can’t have everything I suppose.
I can, however, drive about in armour that look like a cross between a Stormtrooper and Boba Fett. So I can have some things.
I mulled on where to go from here, before I remembered there was a second part to the event. Basically, run through a dungeon with two others, get a score and get a little gift out of it by the end. Two hours later, I was still in the first dungeon crawling half way through. So I let out a weary sigh and scrapped any hope of digging into that part. Sadly, my gear is still made out of paper, cardboard and wishful dreams, even if I was at the time light level 320. So then I went hunting for different content.
Remember the little journey we went on for parts 9 and 10? Well, it’d all be for naught if we didn’t dig into this Rise of Iron.
Once upon a time, there were Iron Lords. No, they weren’t named for a specific reason such as their tendency to use iron, being made of iron or their grand lord positions over the populations. Don’t think too hard. All but one Iron Lord died to seal an old technological threat. Since then, Lord Saladin has waited at the Iron Banner.
However, it seems the House of Wolves are digging around Golden Age tech. Normally it would just lead to Robo-Phillyon chuckling about it. However, Lord Salad Din-dins is on the move to intercept it. So because he wants to help stop the Fallen, I’ve got to stop them before he does. Thus making it the most passive aggressive mission so far in Destiny.
Ambitious, maybe, but it’s all in the name of making Salad Dins feel a bit foolish. So it is a worthy cause.
One ski-lift ride later, I have to push off the Fallen by shooting a floating ball called Sepiks Prime. No, no idea what it is. However, it was meant to be dead and it isn’t, so questions are raised since necromancy is one of the few mythological concepts Bungie hasn’t raided. However now I have to hunt the ball since it knows about a corrupting force called SIVA. A force I’m told little about and informed I have to research it myself, which the next few missions are spent doing while doing the main objectives.
Sadly, there isn’t a good explanation for what SIVA really is in the game and even the vague one is slowly dripped down. So I’ll skip to the end for coherency sake. Do you recall SHODAN from System Shock 2? Specifically, do you recall how SHODAN was a technological AI that corrupted everyone? Now, imagine that without sentience. In addition, imagine a group thinking to utilise said technology for their own gain, but didn’t realize its corrupting influence. That’s SIVA.
Although that isn’t to say Bungie has reverted to their old “I COULD TELL YOU, BUT I WOULDN’T” ways. After one research mission, Lord Sallydins lays everything on the table. Where SIVA came from, how the Iron Lords hoped to utilize its ways to help build things and only realized all too late it needed to be stopped. 100 Iron Lords went into the Plaguelands, 9 stepped into the actual replication chamber, but only Saladin escaped. Lord Jolder blew the chamber up behind him, as her armor and weapons were infected to the point that her leaving would risk SIVA getting free.
Then I looked at who Jolder was in the cut scene, and begun to smirk. By blind luck, my character somewhat looks like Jolder. I was surprised Saladin wasn’t having a mental breakdown, sure he had seen her die and yet here she stood in front of him. Oh well, pretending to be a dead person happens, it’s just bad luck.
I don’t know about that Saladin. I’m pretty immortal since I got back from blowing myself up.
Anyway, it was time to strike at the core. However, we needed to know the weakness on The Fallen’s hold on SIVA. Fortunately, one of the Lords were doing research on Mars and didn’t delete the data before getting himself killed. So it’s off to download the data, likely forget to delete it ourselves, and let the local librarian study the files for a weakness. Hopefully the Cabal (who was squatting at the base I had to raid to find it) didn’t notice the data themselves. Phew.
It’s then it strikes me. I kept working out where I had heard Saladin’s voice. If he was in an earlier scene in the game, in a film or maybe was in one of those cheesy cheap adverts that make the rounds on Youtube every so often. Humorously enough, it was the same voice actor as Reaper from Overwatch, and sounds only marginally less grim-dark. So I had a chuckle at that.
So I got word back of where the weakness was. Unsurprisingly, it was right in the replication chamber. You know, the one that took 99 lives to seal. I guess somehow things are different with me doing it in contrast to the Iron Lords? I’m never quite sure if Bungie notices the absurdity of claiming “THESE GOD-LIKE BEINGS WHO HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS FAILED IN A GROUP OF 100, BUT YOU ALONE WILL SUCCEED!”
If reality, logic and sense was even peering over the fence into Destiny’s back-garden, I think my bones would be decorating a Fallen or Taken nest by now. Then again, I do tend to be a bit of a snob towards heroism in fiction so I might just be presenting a golden shower to people’s celebrations.
However, it isn’t as though it is a get in, get shot, bleed out sort of plan. The Splicers, who are technologically corrupted Fallen (there was a reason why I compared it to System Shock 2 specifically), have a power-source right out in the open to wreck. Although oddly, it is a power source strangely vulnerable to switching the plugs around. Which afterwards, it is strangely easy with no real resistance to just walk into the epicenter.
There is no context to bringing up Rasputin here, and honestly I can’t make sense of what they’re rambling about.
Then it was just about flipping on the self-destruction sequence (which the SIVA system was kind enough to leave intact for my ghost to flip on). However, this is a game so naturally there was a boss-fight. Oddly, one that required me to lug about a big ole woodsman axe to fell the half-cyborg half-Iron Lord creatures like oak. At first it was patience testing, but once I got into the rhythm of when to run and when to hide it became rather simple. I used the cunning tactics of: cut them when full on health, jump when they jump, scarper when my intestines are creeping out of my many wounds.
So a few tries later, the self-destruction trigger was live. All I then had to do was run out the front door, which was made tricky by enemies pouring in as though they all wanted front seats to the SIVA blast. It was close, so close, but I got out with my new axe. Sadly it was an axe that I wasn’t allowed to keep. That isn’t to say I came out of the destruction of the new threat empty handed though. The order of the Iron Lords may be a dying one, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t against firing up the forge for one more gift: A brand new sword.
Normally I’d grumble at being given a weapon (remember the sniper rifle at the end of the base game, and how I got rid of it because it was pretty terrible?), but surprisingly it has the highest rarity in the game. Looking at the stats, it also has pretty mean damage too. So I’ll have to give it a swing, at some throats.
…What, you think this was the finale? Taking out the main big-bad of the Rise of Iron and that’s it? Oh no. We’ve stopped production, but the tools of war still live. These tools of destruction breathe, kill and defile the land. So it’s now time to clean the land of the zealots who saw SIVA as something spiritually enlightening rather than a technological corruption. The end is in sight though. We’re nearly at the end of the analysis. We’re now back on a weekly basis until we’re finished though. So, I’ll see you next week!